After a day of being inundated with “awesome” food choices to pick from, “awesome” clothes to make the most of my figure, “awesome” music to awaken my diminishing hearing, “awesome” books to put on my bedside table and “awesome” toilet paper to wipe with and protect that sensitive area, I wondered if maybe I had the wrong idea of what “awesome” meant.
Awesome. I thumbed through the pages of the dictionary until I found the word: “to inspire awe.” A quick flip of the pages to “awe” shows the definition of “awe” as “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration or fear.
Although I’ve seen dramatic presentations of food, I have yet to see any food item that inspires awe in me. Now, if I hadn’t eaten for a month and someone plopped down a crispy hot dog in a bun with a little ketchup in front of me, that might be awesome, but only because I was starving to death. In every other circumstance, a hot dog will never be awesome. It’s a hot dog after all.
Servers and salesclerks of the world, the same goes for cheesecake or tacos or a hamburger or a sweater or toilet paper or mouthwash. (Note: Some servers look so thin they may, in fact, see any food item as “awesome” based on their level of hunger.)
I waged a short-lived campaign to bring to people’s awareness that “awesome” was overused and not an appropriate word choice. The campaign lasted about four hours as the “Opponents of the Correct Use of the Word Awesome” had already twisted the minds of too many people.
Never one to give up, I now simply ask, “Will the hamburger really give me an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration or fear?”
The person looks at me vacantly as though they are trying to determine if they (a) run for the manager or (b) whip out their cell phone and call 911 to handle an obviously deranged customer. After a short period, where their mental synapses stop firing, the brain freeze passes and they say, “Yeah, dude, it’s really awesome.” Or, as been happening a lot lately since I celebrated the 60th anniversary of my birth, “Yeah, sir, it’s really awesome.”
“Sir” is another word I despise because it implies that I have aged into a category where young adults perceive me as “old.” Something compels them to recognize my senior citizen status and call me “sir” as opposed to not calling me anything at all. When I offer to let them call me “Bob,” they reply, “Thank you, sir.”
On the other hand, “sir” sits much better with me than “dude” which is what the 40-something guy across the street calls me whenever he sees me in the yard. “Hey, dude, good to see you.”
I wave, smile and call him by his given name–a hint that perhaps he could call me “Bob.” That hasn’t worked at this point in time, but I persevere.
Friends have advised me to rejoice that people call me “sir” and not other, more unpleasant things. They have a valid point.
Perhaps when someone calls me “dude” or “sir” I should simply respond, “Awesome.”